It’s been a week since a member of our South Bend family was shot and killed by a police officer.
I’ve held meetings with community members, the police department, and faith leaders. And yesterday, I held a community-wide town hall to discuss race and policing in our city, to make sure all residents could be heard. It was a tough conversation. Hearts are broken. My heart is broken.
It was a painful but needed conversation. And I feel overwhelmed and heartened by the number of people – supporters and critics – who have reached out and made it clear over the past week that they want to join hands and face these problems together.
Our American values are at stake in the need for us to address the deep mistrust of police and governments among communities of color, which flows directly from the consequences of systemic racism. The many well-intentioned steps we have taken, locally and across the country, have not succeeded. We have not done enough. I will be working with my team and community to build on what we have done together over the past few years. It is clear we need to implement bolder and more aggressive actions moving forward.
Communities and police departments across the nation are in crisis. We must bring about swift and deep change, refusing to rest until we live in a world where an American’s response to seeing or hearing a police car is no different whether they are Black or white: a feeling of safety, not fear.
Safety and justice are inseparable. Making them a lived reality for all is one of the great challenges of our time. And the solutions will have to come from cities like South Bend, where people are ready to come together to struggle and repair. I’m running for president as a mayor of an American city because the toughest issues we face locally are also important national issues. I get why people are not satisfied. I’m not either. This is why as mayors we have the opportunity to change the national conversation.
We must tackle the problem of racial inequity in our lifetime, otherwise it will undermine the entire project of America. The issue of systemic racism, and its effect on our institutions and relationships, has been created through centuries. Turning it around will take action, intention, and persistence. We can and must be the generation to finally do so.
Pete for America
PO Box 1226
South Bend, IN 46624